x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Banks told to update ATMs

Nine months after new Dh500 note was introduced, some ATMs will not accept it.

DUBAI // Officials at the Central Bank say they are unhappy at the slow progress some banks are making in converting their ATMs to accept the new Dh500 note nine months after it was introduced.

Rashed Al Fandi, the executive director of the banking operations and payment systems department at the Central Bank, said he was frustrated that some customers were still unable to deposit the new note at ATMs.

The new Dh500 note was introduced last September to help combat counterfeiting.

Mr Al Fandi said some banks had successfully updated their ATMs while others were lagging behind. "We have spoken with banks asking them to reprogram their machines, but unfortunately some have said they are still having technical difficulties.

"That is an issue between the bank and whoever supplies their machines. We would not get involved in a commercial issue like that.

"I appreciate that many customers have been left uncomfortable with the current state of things. We are unhappy at the slow progress being made on the issue."

Tom Smith, the head of retail banking at United Arab Bank, said that so far two of its ATMs have been programmed to accept the new note.

"The roll-out to the rest of the ATMs will happen at the end of the month. The onus is on all the banks to make sure they do it now," he said. "There is no reason why ATMs shouldn't be able to accept the note. If not now, they will very close in the future."

Al Hilal Bank and Emirates NBD said that all of their ATMs have been converted.

A spokesman for HSBC said the bank completed the upgrade on its machines in March.

Mr Al Fandi said it was important that the new note is in circulation as it has a host of security features to make it more difficult to counterfeit.

A retail banking expert who did not wish to be named said the burden lay with the banks. "For whatever reason there have been some technical issues related to switching the ATMs over so that they are able to accept these notes.

"As a consumer, I would say it's up to the banks to invest in the technology to do this."

He said getting the technology right so that it can differentiate between genuine and counterfeit notes could be the problem.

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